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07 October Current Affairs

Paryatan Parv 2019

In News:

On the second day of nationwide “Paryatan Parv 2019”, Ministry of Tourism launched the Audio Guide facility Audio Odigos for 12 sites of India (including Iconic Sites).

About:

With Audio Guide: Audio Odigos, tourists will now enjoy a more enriching experience and take back historical insights of the Indian culture and heritage.

The Audio Odigos app contains an inbuilt map of the site for a smooth navigation during the tour. Listeners will be offered various versions of history like Synopsis, Detailed History and Podcasts. The audio can be chosen in their preferred language & version of the history.

Audio Odigos is now available for download on all Android and iOS supported mobile phones.

This app is the outcome of the MoU signed y Ministry of Tourism with Resbird Technologies last year under which they have developed the audio guide app as a part of their CSR.

World Cotton Day

In News:

The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, is participating in the World Cotton Day being observed from 7th October to 11th October 2019 in Geneva.

About:

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is organizing World Cotton Day event in collaboration with the Secretariats of the FAO, UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

WTO is hosting the event at the request of the Cotton – 4 countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali to celebrate their official application for the recognition of 7th October as World Cotton Day by the United Nations.

The objective of World Cotton Day is to give exposure and recognition to cotton and all its stakeholders in production, transformation and trade and promote research and development on cotton.

Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) will be displaying various grades of raw cotton including SUVIN, the finest quality of Extra Long Staple Cotton produced in Tamil Nadu having the highest fibre length.

Fabrics which have been given Geographical Indication like Venkatagiri, Chanderi, Maheshwari and Ikkat sarees will be displayed along with many other traditional Indian textiles.

Advantages of Cotton:

Cotton is a global commodity that is produced all over the world and a single tonne of cotton provides year-round employment for five people on average.

Cotton is a drought – resistant crop ideal for arid climates, it occupies just 2.1 % of the world’s arable land, yet it meets 27% of the world’s textiles need.

In addition to its fibre used in textiles and apparel, food products are also derived from cotton like edible oil and animal feed from the seed.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

In News:

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India launched Youth Co: Lab to accelerate youth-led social entrepreneurship and innovation in India.

About:

Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, and operational in 25 countries across the Asia Pacific region, the Youth Co:Lab initiative aims to create an enabling ecosystem to promote youth leadership, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.

Through Youth Co: Lab, young entrepreneurs and innovators will get a chance to connect with governments, mentors, incubators and investors, who will help equip them with entrepreneurial skills.

The first phase of Youth Co: Lab will focus on six SDGs: SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

The initiative will also convene a series of youth dialogues across several cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai to promote entrepreneurship across India.

Amendments In Electric Vehicle Guidelines

In News:

In a major decision to give a boost to Electric Vehicles in country, Union Minister for Power has approved amendments in Electric Vehicle Charging Guidelines and Specifications.

Key highlights of the Revised Guidelines:

At least one Charging Station to be available in a grid of 3 Km x 3 Km in the cities and one Charging Station at every 25 Km on both sides of highways/roads.

All Mega Cities & expressways connected to these Mega Cities to be taken up for coverage in first phase, other big cities to be taken up in second phase.

For inter-city travel, Fast Charging Station to be installed at every 100 Kms.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under Ministry of Power has been nominated as the Central Nodal Agency to facilitate installation of Charging Infrastructure.

These Revised Guidelines and Specifications for charging infrastructure shall supersede the earlier guidelines and standards issued by the Ministry of Power on 14.12.2018.

Policy rate by 25 basis point to 5.15 %

In News:

The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI has cut the key policy rate by 25 basis point to 5.15 %.

Key highlights of Monetary Policy Statement:

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points to 5.15 % from 5.40 % with immediate effect.

Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands reduced to 4.90 %, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 5.40 %.

The MPC also decided to continue with an accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target.

It also revised its growth forecast for the current financial sharply, from 6.9% projected in the August policy, to 6.1%. Growth forecast for the first quarter of the next financial year was also trimmed to 7.2% from 7.4%.

These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 % within a band of +/- 2 %, while supporting growth.

Comment:

The rate cut comes after GDP growth for the first quarter of the current financial year plunged to a 25-quarter low of 5%.

Between February and now, the central bank has reduced the policy rate by 135 bps.

New Process Of Strategic Disinvestment

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved a new process of strategic disinvestment with a view to expediting privatization of select PSUs.

Salient features of policy:

Under the new policy, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Ministry of Finance has been made the nodal department for the strategic stake sale.

DIPAM and NITI Aayog will now jointly identify PSUs for strategic disinvestment.

Comment:

The decision has been taken with a view to streamlining and speeding up the process.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the presentation of the Budget had announced about increasing the divestment target from 90 thousand crore rupees to 1.05 lakh crore rupees for the current fiscal year, focusing on consolidation of public sector undertakings and strategic disinvestment.

e-waste clinic

In News:

India’s first e-waste clinic will come up in Madhya Pradesh capital.

About:

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have joined hands to set up the country’s first e-waste clinic in Bhopal. CPCB will offer technical support.

The clinic is being conceived in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

This would enable segregation, processing and disposal of waste from both household and commercial units.

Electronic waste will be collected door-to-door or could be deposited directly at the clinic in exchange for a fee. Door-to-door collection will happen in two ways. Either separate carts for the collection of e-waste will be designed, or separate bins will be attached to existing ones meant for solid and wet waste.

A three-month pilot project, the clinic, if successful, would be replicated elsewhere in the country.

RBI

In News:

In a move that will enable more borrowers to avail loans from microfinance institutions (MFI), the Reserve Bank of India has decided to raise the lending limit per borrower from ₹1 lakh to ₹1.25 lakh.

Background:

In the wake of the Andhra Pradesh micro finance crisis in 2010, a Sub-Committee of the Central Board of the Reserve Bank (Chairman: Y. H. Malegam) was constituted to study issues in the MFI sector.

Based on the recommendations of the Committee, it was decided to create a separate category of NBFC, viz., Non-Banking Financial Company-Micro Finance Institution (NBFC-MFI) and a detailed regulatory framework for NBFC-MFIs was put in place in December 2011.

The income and loan limits to classify an exposure as eligible asset were last revised in 2015.

Recent development:

Taking into consideration the important role played by MFIs in delivering credit to poor, it is proposed to revise these criteria as under:

Increase the household income limit for borrowers of NBFC-MFIs from the current level of ₹ 1.00 lakh for rural areas and ₹ 1.60 lakh for urban/semi urban areas to ₹ 1.25 lakh and ₹ 2.00 lakh, respectively.

Raise the lending limit from ₹ 1.00 lakh to ₹ 1.25 lakh per eligible borrower.

Halt the Hate

In News:

Amnesty India’s ‘Halt the Hate’, a hate crime tracker has recorded 181 incidents of alleged hate crimes in the first half of 2019, the steepest rise in such incidents since 2015.

Key findings:

The 181 recorded incidents of alleged hate crimes in the first half of 2019 is almost double that of the same period last year, when 100 such cases were recorded.

Over two-thirds of the victims were targeted because they were Dalits, while 40 of them suffered because of their Muslim identity.

In 37 reported incidents, the victims were killed. In 30 cases, victims were raped or sexually assaulted.

Between January and June 2019, 72 mob attacks were reported. Of the 37 such attacks against Muslims, the victims were lynched in 5 cases. Dalit victims were lynched in 8 of the 28 mob attacks.

There were 7 honour killings and 12 cases of violence against Adivasis.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh official visit to India

In News:

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to India that included her presence as the Chief Guest at the India Economic Summit organized by the World Economic Forum on 03-04 October 2019.

List of MoUs/Agreements exchanged during Official Visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India:

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports

MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni river by India for drinking water supply, scheme for Sabroom town, Tripura, India

Agreement concerning implementation of GoI Line of Credits (LOC) extended to Bangladesh

MoU between University of Hyderabad and University of Dhaka

Cultural Exchange Programme- Renewal

MoU on Co-operation in Youth Affairs

MoU on providing Coastal Surveillance System

The two leaders also inaugurated through video-link three bilateral development partnership projects:

Import of Bulk LPG from Bangladesh,

Inauguration of Vivekananda Bhaban (students hostel) at Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka.

Inauguration of Bangladesh-India Professional Skill Development Institute (BIPSDI) at the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB), Khulna.

Durga Puja

In News:

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind greeted people on the Eve of Durga Puja.

About:

Vijayadashami is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year i.e. on the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin.

The festival also starts the preparation for Diwali, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami.

It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent.

Durga Puja:

Region: Eastern & North-Eastern India.

Reason for observance: It marks the end of Durga Puja. It remembers goddess Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.

Celebrations: It includes processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants. After this the statutes are immersed into the water.

Dussehra:

Region: Northern, Southern & Western India.

Reason for observance: It marks the end of “Ramlila.” It remembers God Rama’s victory over the demon Ravana.

Celebrations:

Here the festival is also known as Dasara or Dussehra. The towering effigies of Ravana symbolizing the evil are burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction.

The performance arts tradition during the Dussehra festival was inscribed by UNESCO as one of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” in 2008.

Potential Drug To Treat Heart Attack

In News:

The researchers have developed a potential drug to treat heart attack and prevent heart failure — for which no cure currently exists. The researchers reported the results in Nature Communications Biology.

About:

When people suffer heart attacks, the resulting scarring of the heart tissue often leads to chronic heart failure. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada have discovered a drug that they believe can prevent that scarring and the progression to chronic heart failure.

The drug, SR9009, works by capitalizing on the circadian clock inside the heart—the genes that turn on and off at specific times to regulate heart rate, blood pressure and other functions.

In mouse models, administering SR9009 shortly after a heart attack reduced inflammation and scarring, allowing the heart to better repair itself.

SR9009 works by disrupting genes that would normally activate immune responses after a heart attack. In mice, it tamped down the production of the NLRP3 inflammasome, a protein complex that promotes scarring.

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